OUR MISSION

Habitat First Group is a development company founded on the principle of creating holiday home communities that share a deep love for Mother Nature.

Combining excellence in architecture, interior design, state-of-the-art facilities, security and service, Habitat First Group creates an oasis of space where families can holiday comfortably and responsibly, while safely exploring the great outdoors.

Habitat First Group is a family-run business. Having launched Lower Mill Estate in 1999, the company has now spread its wings with the launch of Silverlake, Dorset and has a number of other exciting projects in the pipeline.

We combine location, ecology, knowledge and grounded luxury to enable us to give your family a habitat to thrive.

HOW IT STARTED

25 years ago, on a hot summer’s day, Jeremy Paxton saw an enticing spot by a lake in The Cotswolds, whilst he was flying his helicopter. The area was clear and he landed for a sandwich, a swim and a snooze.

A chance lunch with a friend led Jeremy to discover that the plot was for sale and three weeks later Jeremy was the owner of what is now known as Lower Mill Estate.

After many years of enjoying the estate with his family he looked at the possibility of sharing it with other people and building a limited number of vacation homes that harmonised ecology, architecture and people. After many years of developing a master-plan Jeremy and his family achieved permission to build 575 vacation homes across the site. Only one third of the site is developable leaving two thirds as untouched nature reserve and lakes.

The group is still run by the Paxton family who strive to lead the way in building award-winning vacation communities where families can make memories.

LOWER MILL ESTATE
BRINGS PEOPLE, ECOLOGY AND
AWARD-WINNING ARCHITECTURE
TOGETHER IN PERFECT HARMONY

OUR DEVELOPMENTS

AND SUPPORTING BUSINESSES

Habitat First creates private, vacation home communities that share a love for mother nature. By combining excellence in architecture, interior design, facilities, security and service, home owners can escape from the rigours of city living.

Habitat First offers an oasis of space where families can holiday comfortably and responsibly, safely explore and re-energise in acres and acres of natural habitat.

Lower Mill Estate brings people, ecology and award-winning architecture together in perfect harmony.

Your home reflects your requirements, so when purchasing a plot at Lower Mill Estate, you are 100 per cent involved from the very early stages of the bespoke design process right through to the end result.

You can select one of Lower Mill Estate’s award-winning property designs, modify an existing one or instruct your own architect to create a one-off design. Recommended builders are on hand to help you build and customise your property. Selecting from a multitude of layouts, a range of interiors and the best in sustainable materials and finishes, you are certain to create a home-from-home with your stamp on it.

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In 2011 the Paxton family purchased this quarry, now known as Silverlake. Situated near Dorchester and Weymouth and previously a WW2 air base, the site is perfectly located for the UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic Coastline. Silverlake’s first village, Beaumont Village along with The Hurricane Spa, is now complete and work on the site’s second and third villages, Wakeling and Overton Island, is well underway. Whilst the concept is the same as Lower Mill, the product and location is very different.

Please click on the link below to discover more about the location, the site’s heritage and its incredible facilities.

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In 2012 the Paxton family purchased the 156 acre Venn Quarry, near Barnstaple in North Devon. Sitting alongside the Tarka Trail and only moments from North Devon’s stunning beaches, Birchwood is a new and exciting proposition for Habitat First Group.

Restoration works have now been completed and homes will be available for reservation from Autumn 2019.

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News

Conservation without Borders

Recently we had the pleasure of welcoming Sacha Dench*, a renowned and passionate conservationist, to Silverlake, Dorset, for a conversation with our Chief Ecologist, Dr Phoebe Carter, about Habitat First Group’s unique conservation work. With…

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25 Years in the making

This year, Habitat First Group is celebrating the incredible milestone of 25 years of developing outstanding holiday communities; a journey that started with Lower Mill Estate.  To celebrate such an achievement Diane Wynell-Sutherland, the very…

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Birchwood is a Biosphere Partner

We are delighted to announce that our estate, Birchwood in North Devon, has been announced as a World Biosphere Partner. North Devon has recently been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site; from the highlands…

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Silverlake – Interactive Map

Finding your way around Silverlake, Dorset has never been easier, with the new Estate map. Beautifully illustrated and fully interactive, the map highlights key points of interest around the estate and provides further information on…

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Lucy Lapwing at Silverlake

We recently had the pleasure of hosting conservationist, Lucy Lapwing at Silverlake, Dorset. This is her story… I’d only been at Silverlake for around an hour when I heard it. A faint, constant noise –…

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A tale from the allotments

At Habitat First Group, we’re passionate about sustainability and ethical living. Our on-site restaurant and shop, Ballihoo, is no exception. To support our quest to reduce food miles, Bob, our Handyman, and our dedicated team…

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WIN your ultimate celebration

If you’re aching for something to look forward to at the moment and have had to cancel an important celebration in recent months, you may be in luck. This autumn, we are giving you the…

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Red Paxton on the panel with Coutts

Red Paxton talks as part of an exclusive panel with TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp, Interior Designer Emma Sims-Hilditch and Tom Bill Head of UK Residential Research Knight Frank, to discuss the UK property market’s reaction…

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In the Press

We’ve had a wonderful array of press coverage recently, from reviews of our stunning holiday homes at Lower Mill Estate in The Cotswolds and Silverlake in Dorset to features about our founders and details of…

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Become an Eco Explorer

If you’re currently back in the conundrum of juggling work and home-schooling, why not challenge the kids to become an Eco Explorer? To do this activity, have a look at our wildlife video page and download a…

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It’s our 25th birthday!

Twenty-five years ago, we set about transforming Lower Mill Estate into something never seen before. A lakeside holiday home community where families could enjoy the beauty of the Cotswold countryside, within the safety of a…

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We’re feeling electric!

We’ve recently welcomed a new fleet of electric buggies to Silverlake. These nifty vehicles will be used by our Housekeeping and Maintenance teams to transport necessities around the estate, leaving us safe in the knowledge that they will…

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Ospreys to Lower Mill Estate

After 15 years of waiting, an Osprey has arrived at Lower Mill Estate and has been putting on some spectacular displays as it fishes in Somerford Lagoon in the heart of the development. Ospreys are awe-inspiring…

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Otter Spotting

Habitat First Group is committed to creating spaces where wildlife thrives. One species doing really well on all of our sites is the otter. This wonderful mammal suffered a catastrophic decline in numbers during the…

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Habitat Heroes

A Hero’s Welcome at Lower Mill Estate “Our family was truly humbled by the dedication, courage and resilience shown by our amazing NHS workers during this pandemic. Moved by their selflessness, we decided that the…

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The Habitat First Foundation

We are extremely pleased to announce the launch of the brand-new Habitat First Foundation website.  The Habitat First Foundation is Habitat First Group’s official charity and has so far raised £23,205 towards building dedicated holiday homes to provide complimentary accommodation…

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Build, build, build

Our Chief Ecologist, Dr Phoebe Carter, has recently been interviewed by Radio 4 as part of the work she undertakes with Building with Nature on the impact of the Government’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ mandate. Phoebe…

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The Falcon House – House of the Month

We are super pleased that our eco-friendly Falcon House at Birchwood, North Devon has been featured as House of the Month in the latest Country and Town House publication. Designed by contemporary architects Koto, the…

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Red Paxton’s interview with LMH

Red Paxton, Co-Founder of Habitat First Group recently spoke with Jemma Lester, MD of Luxury Marketing House. They discussed the story of Habitat First Group, it’s working with nature ethos and some of the many other…

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Moth diversity at Silverlake

Silverlake is home to a huge range of wonderful insects thanks to the diversity of habitats it hosts. Of these insects, moths are often overlooked as many only fly at night and even the day-flying…

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Welcoming the Sand Martins back from Africa

Habitat First Group have recently been getting things ready to welcome Sand martins back from Africa.  The Sand martin (Riparia riparia) is a tiny earth-brown and white bird that arrives from Africa as early as…

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Wildflowers bloom at Lower Mill Estate

Wildflowers bloom with brilliance at Lower Mill Estate from late spring to autumn. They don’t just bring us great joy, but are also a lifeline for our bees, butterflies, pollinating bugs and birds. Swill Meadow…

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30 days of the great outdoors

We know how unsettling the past few weeks have been for families and understand that the prospect of weeks at home trying to educate and entertain the kids is seriously daunting. To help the days…

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Andrew Cotton x Birchwood

We’re delighted to announce a new partnership with professional big wave surfer, Andrew Cotton. As a fellow outdoor enthusiast and lover of all things North Devon, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to work with him….

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Welcome to Habitat Zero

We are delighted to announce a new Habitat First Group company, Habitat Zero. For the past two decades we have strived to have a positive impact on nature, the community and the well-being of the…

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Watching the seasons change

While some people are shivering, we look forward to Autumn at Habitat First Group, as our country estates come into their own. Along with thousands of trees changing colour, this is a great time to…

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THE LIFE CYCLE AT LOWER MILL ESTATE

As many of you will know, we have motion activated nature cams dotted around the nature reserve to keep track of our resident wildlife and particularly the effectiveness of our ecology management plan. Every now…

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KOTO ANNOUNCE THEIR COLLABORATION WITH HABITAT FIRST

Habitat First Group is a family-run development company founded on the principle of creating holiday home communities that share a deep love for Mother Nature. Combining excellence in architecture, interior design, state-of-the-art facilities, security and…

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Introducing Biophilic Living

Interaction with nature is critically important to human well-being and development, but has become diminished in modern times. For over 20 years, Habitat First Group has been developing architect-designed homes for people who want to…

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Sustainability

We strive to have a positive impact in everything we do, respecting nature and the wider community, as well as enhancing the health and wellbeing of families who invest in and enjoy our unique natural retreats.

Habitat Zero is Habitat First Group’s commitment to deliver an environmentally-responsible, carbon neutral business by 2030.

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PROPERTIES

Having worked with some of the world’s leading architects, Habitat First Group are at the forefront of vacation home architecture and nowhere in the world can you find such an eclectic mix of designs and materials across a single development.

BROWSE AVAILABLE PROPERTIES SEE OUR EXCITING DESIGNS

HABITAT HOUSE

The Habitat House is a ground-breaking design by award-winning architects Featherstone Young. With a distinctive wildflower sloping roof, it blends in beautifully with the natural environment.

These homes provide the very best in sustainable luxury.

WATER GARDEN

LARGE ROOF TERRACE THAT SPANS THE WHOLE WIDTH AND LENGTH OF THE PROPERTY OFFERING PANORAMIC VIEWS OF THE ESTATE.

This new exciting Water Garden design by architect Andy Ramus focuses on renewable energy resources and low energy bills. Built with structural insulated panels (SIPs) and hand-finished by local tradesmen, it is one of the most efficient designs that Habitat First Group has launched.

LIGHTHOUSE

THE FIRST HABITAT FIRST GROUP DESIGN TO MEET PASSIVHAUS PERFORMANCE

Designed by architect Jerry Tate and constructed from structural insulated panels (SIPs), these homes are clad in natural larch timber, clay brick and recycled rubber roof tiles. The Light House is the first Habitat First Group design to meet Passivhaus standards and code level 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes.

THE BARN

A VERY SPACIOUS AIRY FEEL

Designed by architect Willmore Iles, the distinctive Cotswolds tiled pitched roof, gable ends and an almost entirely glass frontage combine to give the Barn a very spacious, airy feel. Their flexible design can be configured to suit small and large families. The houses can be finished in cedar, stone and/or render.

CORNER HOUSE

BLURRING THE LINES BETWEEN INDOOR AND OUTDOOR LIVING

Avant-Garde architecture with room to grow. The cubic design of the Corner House combines minimalist simplicity with cutting edge contemporary construction to deliver a space that allows your family room to grow. Strategically placed roof lights flood the house with natural light and large open plan living areas offer a sociable space to relax and enjoy the far reaching views across the nature reserve.

THE CRESCENT

TWO BEDROOMED COTTAGES IN THE CRESCENT

The Crescent is the centre piece of Beaumont Village, Silverlake. With contemporary spacious ground floor living opening onto southerly facing decks and gardens. Full width first floor Balconies accessed from both bedrooms enjoy the panoramic views to the coast. The Crescent is the perfect place for a family to relax into the unique Dorset countryside. Architectural excellence married with local stone and cedar cladding give your family their own grand design.

THE COTTAGES

THREE AND FOUR BED DETACHED COTTAGES

The Cottages draw inspiration from and reflect the local vernacular. The detail, scale and proportions promote a unique West Dorset character at the heart of the village, creating a sense of place. The materials used come from a traditional palette of local stone, timber, render and tiles. The Cottages elegantly integrate traditional architectural features with contemporary interpretations creating a harmonious aesthetic. The internal spaces offer a charming and relaxed haven.

ORCHID HOUSE

AVANT-GARDE DESIGN AT ITS BEST

Orchid House is one of Habitat First Group’s Landmark houses inspired by the rare Bee Orchid flower found at the estate. The organic form is created from laminated veneer lumbar (LVL) ribs and clad with timber shingles (tiles). The camouflage pattern is burnt in to the timber. It was a design the late Jeremy Paxton was extremely passionate about and the Paxton family are keen on delivering this design at Silverlake.

SKYDECK

SUSTAINABILITY MEETS CONTEMPORARY LIVING WITH 360 DEGREE VIEWS

The Skydeck, designed by Willmore Iles, represents the perfect marriage of contemporary architecture, eco-friendly construction and outstanding connectivity with the great outdoors. The full-length roof terrace with full glass frontage is accessed by a hydraulic roof light and offers stunning views over the lakes and the nature reserve beyond. Picture credit to Endless Sky, which is available to rent via Habitat Escapes.

JOIN OUR TEAM

If you share our passion for creating something uniquely special, then we want to hear from you!

Browse Vacancies

OUR PEOPLE

We’re a family business with roots in the South West, since we purchased our first estate in 1996. The Paxton family are at the helm, working alongside a committed team who are all considered to being ‘part of the family’.

Find out more about our working as part of our team

Meet the team

PERKS

We offer outstanding benefits in stunning environments. Discover more about how you could benefit from becoming part of the Habitat First Group family.

Learn more

CONTACT

For further information contact
Habitat First Group
Unit 4 Priory Court
Poulton
GL7 5JB
live@habitatfirstgroup.com
Tel:+44 (0)1285 869 489

MEDIA ENQUIRIES

For media enquiries, please contact
The PC Agency
www.pc.agency
habitatfirst@pc.agency
T: +44 (0)20 7768 0001

HOLIDAY ENQUIRIES

For holiday enquiries, please contact us at
www.habitatescapes.com
stay@habitatescapes.com
T: 0333 241 6616


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